Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome The Stranger

While not usually listed among the Corporal Works of Mercy, Jesus states this command among them in his discourse in Matthew 25:31-46. Specifically verses 35 and 36: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me..." This should certainly leave Catholic Christians in a quandary about how to handle illegal immigration. I don't profess to have the answer. I can just share some of the reflections that give me cause to believe that the great state of Arizona has not hit on quite the right solution yet.

In desperation, the Holy Family fled Bethlehem right after Jesus' birth and entered into Egypt illegally, hiding there for several years until an angel proclaimed it safe to return home. How did Joseph support them during that time? What if it was today, and the Holy Family were fleeing to the United States, hoping for a better life or a safe haven from persecution? What if Jesus was born here and Joseph and Mary got deported? Far fetched? Not really. Throughout the Bible we find God's message of love. We are our brother's keeper. How do we help them achieve what they are hoping for when they cross our border? Can we help them do it legally, keeping families intact? Is there a way to help them improve their lives in their own country, so they can live with dignity and self respect there? In a world that has little use for the gospel message it is our duty to be a light in our own little corner. The opportunities will present themselves to each of us today. Lord, help us to recognize them and serve you.

Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Club

A book club is an interesting place.  I joined because I love to read and am writing a book.  I thought it would help to discuss books with fellow readers and learn their likes and dislikes.  It is certainly an ear opener!  For instance, the general consensus seems to mandate the "obligatory sex scene" in a book, whereas I feel my imagination needs no assistance in that particular area.  However, obviously it sells mainstream books, because it tends to be in most of them.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that I frequently find I have greatly enjoyed a book that the others disapproved of and vice versa. 

Case in point:  a couple of months ago, our book was "Mutant Message Down Under" by Marlo Morgan.  It is
a story about an American doctor who goes on walkabout in the Australian Outback with a group of Aborigines.  The sufferings she endures help the tribe to teach her their spiritual principals of interrelatedness, divine creation, unconditional love, and being non-judgmental. I felt that it presented a powerful reminder of spritual principals we should all be living.  Most of the others discounted the whole thing because "obviously she didn't learn anything from the experience because she still wears makeup and colors her hair".  Huh?  Not everyone is called to be a St. Francis of Assisi or Mother Theresa.  We are all called to proclaim the Good News in our particular circumstances in life. 

Then there are the ever-popular vampire books currently circulating as the "Twilight" series.  Many of my book club confreres rave about them, but vampires simply do not appeal to me.  Now give me a good historical suspense novel.  I have the new Amelia Peabody mystery on hold:  "A River in the Sky".  After seeing the new "Sherlock Holmes" movie, I reread the books in a whole new light, with new enjoyment.  And my friend from the Baptist church turned me on to Terri Blackstock's novels - who knew such wonderful work was being produced by Christian publishing houses?  I am thrilled.